I extracted the juice and moved it to a container for two days(as per instructions)mixed the yeast with the sugar water and left for two days,then mixed together,but there was no fermentation,why would that be?Thankyou.

4 Answers 4


Let me ask you: I installed the spark plug into my SUV - and tried to ignite, but it's not working. Why?

Rhetorical question. What I am trying to say is that it is very hard to answer this question without more information. That said, a few possible explanations:

Nothing is wrong

  • There is no bubbling via the airlock, so you assume there is no fermentation. However, the lid on your fermentation bucket is not air tight. Did you measure OG? Then measure SG again, if it is lower, then it is indeed slowly fermenting.

  • Two days is not that much time - my last brew (of apple wine actually) started showing pressure after two and a half days. Perhaps the yeast you pitched was not fit for fight and needed some extra time to grow?

  • Higher SG causes slower fermentation, the high sugar concentrations acts as a inhibitor.

  • Low temperature can cause slow fermentation.

It is not fermenting

  • You are trying to ferment at a very low temperature, which has caused the yeast to go dormant. Or, you started fermenting at high temperatures, then quickly lowered the temperature, which shocked the yeast into dormancy.

  • You somehow mixed the yeast with too hot water and killed it.

Hard to say without more information. Did the starter culture show any signs of living?

  • This sounds like a problem I had with a wheat beer that I added peache puree to.... I THINK... it fermented.. but I cannot get it to carbonate... should I try taking it out of my basement and move it to the warmer garage?? maybe that will help? Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 18:45
  • @Jug It's hard to say.. What temperature is it in your basement? Higher temperature might induce activity, but it won't help if the yeast is dead. Try rousing the yeast by putting the bottles upside down (so any settled yeast is brought into suspension) and put it a little warmer. It's a pain if you need to open all bottles and add more yeast!
    – Max
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:31
  • Its about 70 deg in the basement. I moved it to the garage and roused the bottles. We will see what happens... If it doesnt work how would I add more yeast. I am really frustrated because the few I have popped open have a great taste, but no carbonation Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 13:16
  • @Jug Just sanity checking.. You did prime it right? :D Must be extremely frustrating. I've never added yeast to bottles before, but I believe it would be much the same thing as pitching as usual. Probably easier with dry yeast, pop a few granulates into each bottle. If you use liquid yeast, make a small starter to invigorate it then add a bit to each bottle. It might also be worth it's own question on this site! Only found this: homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/1540/…
    – Max
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 14:41
  • I thought I did... and it didnt work... So i popped Coopers Tablets in there too and as of right now it did not work. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 15:59

There are many reasons you could have a stuck fermentation. With more information about the process you used, it would be easier to tell what might have happened. However I'll throw out a few common problems:

  • Bad yeast - Where did you purchase the yeast and how long ago? How was it stored? It may have been dead before you tried to pitch it. It also sounds like you tried to make a starter before pitching into the juice. Did you see any bubbling or frothing in the starter? If not the yeast were probably not viable due to age or improper storage.
  • Temperature problems - If the water in your starter was too hot the yeast may have died. If the water in the juice was too cold they may have flocculated out too quickly. You want to ferment around 65-75°F depending on the recipe. Too far off from this and you will have problems with the fermentation. Fast changes in temperature can also shock the yeast, causing a stuck fermentation.
  • Bad fermentation conditions - If the gravity in juice is too high the osmotic pressure can prevent the yeast from taking in nutrients, shocking them into dormancy or killing them. If the juice was poorly oxygenated the yeast can have trouble reproducing, causing slower or stuck fermentations.

Examine your process with this in mind and you will probably be able to find the issue so you can fix it in future batches!

  • Hello!The yeast was purchased on line,and there was some frothing in the starter,but it didn't last for the two days the instructions suggested.The juice is beautifully clear so is it possible to try again with this juice!?Thanks for a very informative reply as well!!!Johnj. Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 7:45
  • @John Radford: I've never had a problem with stuck fermentation, but I've heard it can be fixed, and I've seen mention of it online. The simplest way might be to pitch more yeast. Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 19:44

I've brewed a lot of cider and never have read instructions like what you describe. Letting yeast sit in sugar water for two days probably caused them to go dormant. Normally, you pitch (add) the yeast within a couple of minutes (no more than an hour) after mixing with some sugar water to activate it (assuming that you were using dry yeast). Did you see bubbles in the container with yeast and sugar water? If not, then probably a bad package of yeast. If you are using dry yeast, there should be a use by date on it. Try activating another package of the yeast in water than is around 105 F (slightly warm to touch) with about a tablespoon of sugar in it. Let this sit until you see foam forming at the top of the container. Hopefully, you pasteurized the juice/cider before adding the yeast, if not, do so by heating it to 160 F for about 20 minutes, let it cool to room temperature, then pitch the new yeast. Cover the container with cheesecloth or seal it with an airlock. It takes about 6 to 10 days to ferment 5 gal of juice/cider at 68-70 F.

  • Thanks a lot buddy,will give it a try;The recipe was from the internet and I must admit I thought it it weird to leave the mix for 48 hours!!!Nice one!!!JR. Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 17:23
  • 1
    FWIW, I pitch dry yeast into mead and it always ferments nicely (until the most recent time, anyway). Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 19:45
  • no upvote? not begging, just see that you are new to the board and upvotes help both your and the poster rep. thanks.
    – drj
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 20:28
  • Worked perfectly thankyou drj!!Regards JR Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 18:25
  • drj--Have you got a recipe for basic English cider please?There are so many on line and a lot of them are far too complicated!!Cheers JR. Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 8:30

Here is the basic recipe that you asked for. The yeast nutrient helps assure that you get good yeast action (not a problem if you have fresh yeast). At 70F, it took less than 4 days to ferment out. Cider was ok (fairly flat) in 2 weeks after bottling (couldn't resist tasting it), but excellent in 4. Think I'm going to try a batch primed with dark brown sugar to see how it tastes. Cheers.

Basic Hard Apple Cider

•   4 gal. Musselmann’s Apple Cider (pasteurized, 100% juice, no preservatives)
•   5 tsp yeast nutrient
•   1 packet Red Star Cotes de Blanc yeast
•   3 tsp white sugar for activating yeast
•   1.25 cup white sugar for priming before bottling

Dissolve yeast nutrient in a small portion of slightly warm cider, then add cider and yeast nutrient solution to carboy. Activate yeast by adding 3 tsp sugar to 1 cup filtered water at about 105 F, then mixing in the yeast package contents. Allow to stand for at least 15 min until foaming begins to occur. Add yeast to carboy, and swirl vigorously for 5 minutes to aerate cider mixture. Seal with airlock and allow to ferment at 65-70 F until bubble rate in airlock is less than one bubble per 15 sec. Rack into priming bucket and add priming sugar as calculated based on desired CO2 volume. Bottle and allow to age for at least 4 weeks.

  • Cheers drj,.I am using fresh apple juice(from cider press ect,.) as I have 6 apple trees in the garden and hate waste.4 gallons of juice is no problem so would it be the same method?Thanks for your interest!! Cheers JR. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 9:24
  • I'd pasteurize the fresh juice just to be certain of the flavor (this gets rid of wild yeast from the apple peals). And if you want clear cider, use some petic enzyme when fermenting, or gelatin when piching. Other features of the recipe are the same. let me know how it turns out for you. next project this week is a cherry chocolate cider.
    – drj
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 7:46

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